This pamphlet was published in 1969 by Canada Vietnam Newsletter, a publication founded in 1966 as "the voice of the antiwar forces demanding immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops and an end to Canadian complicity." (Labor Challenge, Aug. 19, 1971)
The author, Joe Young, was a prominent antiwar activist and a member of the League for Socialist Action.
See also Ottawa's Complicity in Vietnam, published in 1967 by the Student Association to End the War in Vietnam.
U.S. Aggression in Vietnam & Canada's Complicity
by Joe Young
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Is it Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon? Or perhaps Barry Goldwater? Wrong again; it’s Canada’s Prime Ministers, Lester Pearson followed by Pierre Trudeau, speaking their minds on Vietnam.
When Canadian Government spokesmen can do no better than parrot the U.S. line, that American forces are in Vietnam to defend it from the Vietnamese (the Northern variety), our first obligation is to take a look at the real facts of the Vietnam War.
The South Vietnamese needed no outside agitators to incite them to revolution. The Vietnamese have struggled heroically for hundreds of years to free their country from foreign domination. They fought against the French who began colonizing Vietnam in 1867. They fought the Japanese and their French collaborators during the Second World War.
At the end of the war, the Vietnamese liberated their country from the Japanese. Ho Chi Minh was elected the leader of the united Vietnamese people. But this independence did not last long. At the Potsdam Conference, the great powers carved Vietnam into two spheres of influence: the North, to be “Chinese” (Chiang Kai-Shek was President then) and the South, to be “British”. Both, for their own reasons, let these arrangements lapse, with the British turning their sector over to the French.
Very shortly thereafter, the French turned against the popularly-elected government and began the war which was to end in 1954 with the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu, and the Geneva Accords. The Geneva Accords stated explicitly that the division which was created at the 17th parallel was to be temporary. The country was to be reunified by elections to be held in the North and the South in 1956.
But in 1955, the U.S. government installed Ngo Dinh Diem, a pupil of the reactionary U.S. Cardinal Spellman, as the supposed leader of South Vietnam by means of fraudulent elections. (The Times of London, October 31, 1955: “But an election of this kind, held under close police supervision, does not prove much.”)
The American puppet proceeded to declare that he was not bound by the Geneva Accords, and refused to hold the election called for by the Accords. The Diem regime knew, as Eisenhower concedes in his memoirs, that 80% of the people would have voted for Ho Chi Minh.
A reign of terror followed, during which former resistance fighters were beheaded, and peasants were forced to give up their land and pay as much as eight years’ back rent.
It was in response to this U.S.-inspired and maintained terror, and not because of “aggression from the north” that the South Vietnamese people began to strike back. The armed struggle resumed. In 1960, the National Liberation Front was created, as a wide alliance of religious and political groups, to carry forward the fight for the liberation of Vietnam from despotic domination.
By 1964 the NLF was very close to victory. The U.S., already deeply involved in the military operations against the NLF forces, initiated a marked escalation: massive invasion of troops, brutal terror—bombing of the North, systematic destruction of crops, villages—in short, all living things throughout the country.
Today there are about 550,000 American troops in Vietnam and over 33,000 Americans have died there. But hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese have been killed in this war and still they continue their heroic struggle to liberate their homeland from the most powerful military force history has known.
Vietnam is a revolution, a civil war sustained and fed by the legitimate grievances and demands of the Vietnamese people, and not by Trudeau’s and Pearson’s “outside agitators.” What hypocrisy it takes to prattle about “northern infiltration” (by Vietnamese) and excuse, even justify, the massive U.S. intervention in complete violation of the Vietnamese right of self-determination:
The real “outside agitators” and “subversives” in South Vietnam are the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers propping up the rotten Thieu-Ky regime, which is unable to resist the wrath of its own people.
As one of the three members of the International Control Commission, Canada is charged with reporting all violations of the 1954 Geneva Agreement, including the provision that there were to be no foreign military bases in Vietnam and no military alliances. Canada has never protested U.S. violation of these provisions. Instead, it has consistently covered up U.S. aggression, beginning in 1955 when the Canadian members of the ICC issued a minority report justifying the abrogation of the Accords by the U.S.-installed Diem regime.
As Dr. James Steele of Carleton University has noted, by saying that the Diem regime was not “formally engaged” to carry out the Accords, Canada provided Saigon “with a semi-judicial sanction for renouncing the Geneva Agreement” and “assisted in its destruction.”
When the bombing of the North began, the Canadian members of the ICC issued another minority report supporting U.S. claims of infiltration into the South, the American justification for the bombing. It was not the Canadians with the ICC mission in Hanoi, but Harrison Salisbury of the New York Times who established the truth about the terrorist bombing of civilians in North Vietnam—even though at one point the building housing the Canadians suffered a direct hit shortly after the Americans began bombing the North:
Gerald Clark of the Montreal Star reported on May 9, 1967, that “Canadian officers in the Commission are betraying their trust by acting as informants for U.S, intelligence agencies ... a harsher way of putting it is that they are functioning as spies when they are supposed to be serving as international civil servants.” Clark’s charges were never denied.
Just this January, 1969, as the U.S. troops extended their sorties from South Vietnam into neighbouring Laotian and Cambodian territory, the ICC also extended its investigations to Laos—to report on guerrilla activities at the request of the Royal Laotian Government.
The truth about Canada’s ICC role has been described by the Vietnamese revolutionaries themselves. In its January 28, 1967 edition, Nhan Dan (People’s Army), the Hanoi newspaper, stated editorially:
“The Canadian government has not lived up to its obligations as a member of the International Control Commission. The Vietnamese people know full well that the Canadian government has all along shielded and supported the acts of intervention and aggression of the U.S., in both South and North Vietnam.”
What does the future hold for the ICC? Will it become the basis for an international “police force” which will result in Canadian boys fighting the Vietnamese—as they fought the Koreans in the 1950-53 “police action”?.
External Affairs Minister Mitchell Sharp repeatedly claims Canada is “neutral” in the Vietnamese conflict. Typical of the neutrality of Canadian government leaders, however, is this statement by former Prime Minister, Lester Pearson, in the July 1967 Maclean’s magazine:
“I thought the Americans were entitled at the beginning to respond to the request of the South Vietnam government (read the American puppet Diem) for help to defend themselves against armed subversive action fomented and organized from the North.”
The subversive action was that of the South Vietnamese peasants fighting to keep their lands. Pearson continued:
“They (the U.S. military) have bombed the North, but they have tried to bomb only military targets. They have killed civilians in the process, but that happens in any kind of bombing, however tragic it may be ... The Americans, unfortunately for them, have received no credit for any restraint they may have shown.”
We might almost be reduced to tears for the plight of the poor misunderstood American rulers if we did not know that the Americans are intentionally bombing civilian targets and using weapons, such as the lazy dog bomb, which are of use only against civilians.
On October 31, 1967, Paul Martin, then External Affairs Minister, now Government leader in the Senate, advocated a bombing halt and said that the main purpose of the halt would be to create “a new situation” in which “new pressures could be brought upon North Vietnam” to negotiate. He saw the stopping of the bombing as a means of exerting pressure on the Vietnamese to give up their rights to self-determination to the U.S. invaders.
On September 26, 1968, just prior to the complete cessation of the bombing of North Vietnam, Sharp said,
“A resolution calling only for a halt to the bombing without stressing the obligation of the other side to contribute significantly to military de-escalation would not seem to reflect what has to be done by both sides if peace is to be restored.”
Sharp was again trying to put the shoe on the other foot—he demanded that the Vietnamese let up their struggle to free themselves, before the U.S. would stop their criminal bombing.
The bombing of the North has been suspended (it continues with greater intensity in the South and over Laos) but the diplomacy characterized by the above statements continues. The aim is to make the victim look like the attacker, to pressure the victim to concede the basic right of self-determination in the face of the invading armies.
Puerto Rico had just won independence from the “Consolidated States of Amigo”. Internal disorders had erupted, and “Fantasia”, a neighboring Latin American republic, had intervened on the side of the revolutionary guerrillas. The Puerto Rican rulers appealed in vain to the “mother country”, Amigo, which had pressing military commitments elsewhere; i.e., Vietnam. Enter the Canadian troops—under the “neutral” United Nations flag.
Is this a fantasy? No, it is the scenario for a counter-insurgency exercise executed by Canadian forces in February, 1968 near Puerto Rico, on the island of Vieques, a training camp for U.S. marines bound for Vietnam.
Similar exercises in counter-guerrilla warfare have been conducted during the past two years in Libya, Alaska, Jamaica, Chilliwack, B.C. and Australia—in the last-named country, using Australian Vietnam veterans as instructors. On July 7, 1968, Ed Cosgrove of CBC TV reported that Canadian troops were practicing maneuvers in a mock Southeast Asian-type village at Camp Petawawa, Ont. The government is also participating in the establishment by NATO of a special “mobile fleet” to rush to “trouble” spots.
Charges by anti-war groups that Canadian troops are being trained in counter-insurgency, and that the Canadian government has offered to send them on “peace-keeping missions” to Vietnam and other countries, have been labeled “pure fantasy” by Prime Minister Trudeau. What are the facts?
External Affairs Minister Sharp told a Young Liberal conference in Toronto on Feb. 12, 1969, “...if as a result of the ICC, we are asked to participate in some peace-keeping force, I hope you would support us.”
Trudeau said on May 13, 1968; “...it would be a mistake to ask the Americans to pull out without sending in some kind of international force to ensure that there is no invasion of South Vietnam.”
Right after the bombing halt, the Nov. 1, 1968 Globe and Mail reported:
“As a member of the International Control Commission in Vietnam, Canada is ready to help peace negotiations or in a peace-keeping operation, External Affairs Minister Mitchell Sharp said last night. Mr. Sharp said studies of the forces that might be required for observing a peace settlement in Vietnam have recently been updated and Canada is ready to contribute if requested by both sides in the war.”
“Peace-keeping”? What kind of peace-keeping requires training exercises such as those described above?
“Peace-keeping”? Canada’s record of peace-keeping has been one of undercover interventions in favour of American interests (which are also those of our ruling circles). The Korean war was much the same as the present conflict in Vietnam. Flying the flag of the United Nations, American troops and their allies intervened and denied the Korean people the right to determine their own future. Among the interventionist forces were 8,000 Canadians, hundreds of whom lost their lives.
In the Congo, Canadian forces again intervened, again under the cover of the UN flag. Did they help keep the peace? Not When the Belgian officers created provocations against the Congolese troops in order to supply a justification for the invasion of Belgian forces and the secession of Katanga, the UN forces, including the Canadians, disarmed the Congolese troops and not the Belgian officers. When Patrice Lumumba, the popularly elected leader, was deposed by a coup d’état, the UN force which he had invited in denied him access to radio and the airport, which he needed to rally support, and then stood by while he was kidnapped, taken away to Katanga, and murdered.
How can a country which has so clearly sided with American imperialism in Vietnam possibly peace-keep in Vietnam or any other country? No foreign force, even if it be called “peace-keeping”, is consistent with the right of the Vietnamese to self-determination. No one has the right to police Vietnam or supervise elections except the Vietnamese themselves. The last time an international force attempted to do this in Vietnam, in 1954 when the ICC was set up, the Vietnamese people soon learned that it was a device of the imperialists to maintain their control over part of Vietnam.
The record is grim. Canadian soldiers under the flag of peace have served the interests of American and Canadian foreign investment in helping to stifle the liberation struggles of people around the world. Trudeau and the Liberals are contemplating doing this in Vietnam. We must not let it happen! No Canadian troops to Vietnam or any other part of the world, no matter what the uniform!
The Vietnamese have a saying, “Behead and cure”, which describes accurately the nature of Canadian medical aid to Vietnam, except that the Canadian government does far more to promote the beheading than the curing.
The experiences of Canadian doctors and nurses in Vietnam speaks volumes about Canadian medical aid. When the External Affairs Aid department set up a “child aid” program, it torpedoed the project after 14 months on the grounds that the government of Marshall Ky didn’t want the project. Said Dr. Gustave Gingras, the Quebec doctor in charge of the project, “If you want to do something, you do it. If you don’t, you sit around making up excuses.” One commentator writing in the Star Weekly of April 1, 1967 remarked about this incident, “What is lacking is not the men or the money but the will.”
Dr. Michael Hall, who went to South Vietnam in 1964, received practically no equipment from the External Aid department. He wrote Ottawa before he quit in 1967, “I am the only foreign surgeon in the country who works with and teaches the Vietnamese in their own hospitals and universities. Yet I am also the only foreign surgeon who does not have government support in providing materials necessary for his work.” After Dr. Hall came home in frustration, he wrote, “If there’s a possibility of Canada doing something worthwhile there, I’d like to be a part of it. But unless Canadian policy undergoes some drastic changes, I can’t see it happening.”
There is the case of Dr. Alje Vennema, who interrupted a year of study in Amsterdam to return to Vietnam during the 1968 Tet offensive to determine how Canada could provide medical assistance to relieve the distress. Subsequently, at Canadian instigation, Dr. Vennema was denied access to the only functional airline in Vietnam.
Mr. Longmuir, the legal advisor to the Canadian ICC team, explained it this way, “Dr. Vennema’s tour might turn up some unsavory features so why should Air America be expected to cooperate in transporting him on such a survey?”
The fact is, Canada’s foreign aid projects in south Vietnam are simply another measure of its complicity with the U.S. war effort. This was revealed by David Anderson, a Liberal MP and a former External Aid department officer. The Globe and Mail of Dec. 7, 1968 reported: “Mr. Anderson said Canadian aid given to Vietnam was given for ‘international political purposes’ and had no real value for the Vietnamese.”
Claire Culhane’s experience suggests that Canadian medical aid is actually negative for the Vietnamese. She was administrator for a Canadian hospital at Quang Ngai in South Vietnam. Mrs. Culhane writes in the Dec/68-Jan/69 Canadian Dimension:
“I submit that by participating in the so-called Free World Assistance Group, which can only exist as part of the U.S.A. presence and its thoroughly discredited ‘pacification’ program, we are only prolonging the agony of the Vietnamese people.”
She confirms Anderson’s claim and points to the answer:
“The purpose of our being in Vietnam as a medical team was negated at every turn by events beyond our control. If we were there as a humanitarian medical team, we were no longer functioning as such and therefore should be withdrawn—especially since the troops of the South Vietnamese Army had been occupying our hospital as a military base since the Tet offensive, forcing us to send our patients home. To all this, the only reply I received from the Canadian delegation was, ‘Well, our project in Vietnam is 50% humanitarian and 50% political.’”
Iran, Switzerland, the Quakers, the International Volunteer Services, the Christian Missionary services, and other medical teams have withdrawn from South Vietnam. The Canadian government should withdraw its medical teams from South Vietnam, and at the same time it should start sending medical aid to the legitimate representatives of the Vietnamese people, the NLF and the DRV, where it can be made directly available to the victims of U.S. aggression.
An interview with a young Canadian who fought with American forces in Vietnam was reported in the Toronto Telegram, Nov. 9, 1968:
“You see we sell them—like my ammo, this is no word of a lie, now, the ammo was CIL ammo, Canadian Industries Limited, my boots were BATA and my canteens were made in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This nearly drove me crazy. I couldn’t believe this. How can you say one thing and yet make money off it. This really bothered me because I thought, well, why not just come right out and admit it, that you are helping the American side by giving them these things and making a profit off somebody’s misfortune which would seem our misfortune.”
In stark contrast to the facts, as seen by this Canadian, stand the claims of top Ottawa spokesmen. Former External Affairs Minister Paul Martin once said,
“I don’t know of any Canadian arms going to Vietnam(!). I don’t know of one. I only know the Americans are sending arms all over the world. They’re going to defend Canada. The important thing is that not any shipments are going directly from Canada to Vietnam. We are not responsible for what is going on in Asia any more than a person who lives in a world with a beast is responsible for bestiality simply because he has done nothing to bring that beast to an end.”
On Feb. 12, 1969, Martin was echoed by Sharp: “We don’t sell to either side.”
We don’t sell arms or war materials! In an article on sales of arms to the U.S. for use in Vietnam, the Telegram reported in January, 1968:
“Included in sales are explosives for bombs, missile propellants, sophisticated rocket and weapons-aiming systems, cartridge cases, fighter-bomber navigation systems, aircraft engines, and other components.”
Armament sales in 1964 were $166 million; 1965, $259 million; 1966, $317 million and 1967, $370 million, and they are continuing to rise. Canada is the largest supplier of nickel to the U.S. military. Nickel is a crucial strategic material. According to Prof. John Warnock, writing in the Dec-Jan Canadian Dimension, some of the defoliants and chemical warfare instruments used by the U.S. in Vietnam, have either been developed or tested in Canada under the direction of the Defense Research Board. A large part of these sales are solicited, arranged and funneled through a government institution, the Canadian Commercial Corporation.
Former External Affairs Minister Paul Martin suggests Canada is not to be blamed if it does nothing to help end the war. But in fact Martin’s government is actively aiding the war, the greatest military onslaught on a people in history. He tries to justify the war with the claim that arms sold to the U.S. are going to defend Canada.
A serious defense of arms shipments was put forward by Pearson on Mar. 10, 1967 in reply to the Faculty Committee on Vietnam at the University of Toronto. The present policy is based on this statement, according to a letter written to a Toronto high school student by Sharp on Dec. 31, 1968. Pearson said:
“Equipment required by modern defense forces to meet even limited roles such as peace-keeping are both technically sophisticated and very costly to develop, and because Canada’s quantitative needs are very small, it is not economical for us to meet our total requirements from our own resources.”
And so in 1959 and 1963 the Defense Production Sharing Agreements were signed which established a close relationship between the Canadian and U.S. war industries. It is under these agreements that Canadian arms go to American forces fighting in Vietnam.
“...it is clear that the imposition of an embargo on the export of military equipment to the U.S.A., and concomitant termination of the Production Sharing Agreements, would have far-reaching consequences which no Canadian government could contemplate with equanimity. It would be interpreted as a notice of withdrawal on our part from continental defense and even from the collective defense agreements of the Atlantic Alliance.”
Thus Pearson here invokes three arguments to justify this trade in the weapons of death. First, he says, Canadians must trade weapons with the Americans to receive weapons for the Canadian army. This is patently phony—such arms, if needed, could easily be purchased elsewhere.
Second, if Canadians did stop weapons shipments, the Americans would break off their military agreements with Ottawa. That does not seem like such a terrible perspective in view of the genocide the U.S. is committing in Vietnam!
The third, the economic question, is the one which makes these men's heartbeats quicken. Termination of the Defence Sharing Agreements would hurt “our” economy, even “ruin” it, as Trudeau once claimed. Transport Minister Paul Hellyer put it rather crudely when he told University of Toronto students in November, 1967:
“You must be careful not to become great moralists over the Vietnam issue ... you are benefiting from it. Part of your education is being paid for by it.”
Apart from being morally reprehensible, this statement is just not true. The workers and students of this country are not getting a penny of the profits of the war corporations. What they are getting is higher prices and higher taxes which are due to inflation caused in large part by the Vietnam war. Think of the gains for the people of this country and the world, if the almost $2 billion a year wasted on “defense” were used to meet human needs.
Sweden has put an embargo on arms shipments to the U.S. Why can’t the Canadian government do the same? Cannot the weapons be hammered into ploughshares and given to the poor nations of the earth? But if big business is telling us that their profits can only survive from the proceeds of blood money, they are suggesting to us that something fundamental must be changed in our society. We refuse to tolerate a society which lives from the killing of others!
Pearson claimed on March 25, 1968 that barring the sales of war goods to the U.S. “would not shorten the war by one hour”. But Trudeau had already answered him in effect when he maintained in a speech on Mar. 1 that an embargo on nickel would “break the back of the U.S. war effort”, and on that ground he opposed the embargo! Stopping the sales of war materials—particularly certain strategic materials like nickel—can really hurt the U.S. war effort. We must force the government to do it.
Under the NATO agreement, Canada spends over $400 million a year to maintain 17,000 Canadian troops in Europe. These forces help free U.S. troops for combat in Vietnam. The aircraft carrier Bonaventure helps hold the fort in the Atlantic. Through NATO, the Canadian government has supplied arms to the Greek dictatorship, the French colonialists in Algeria, and the Portuguese militarists for use against the Angolans, the Mozambiquans, and the people of Portuguese Guinea.
Another alliance with the U.S., the North American Air Defense Agreement (NORAD), will cost $139 million this year. Mitchell Sharp has recently come very close to confirming that Canada will join yet another imperialist alliance, the Organization of American States. If Canada does join the OAS, how long will it be before Canadian troops are protecting the extensive Canadian investments and U.S. interests in Latin America from the growing guerrilla struggle?
NATO, NORAD—and possibly in the future, the OAS—tie Canada’s foreign policy to American imperialism. Canada must break from these alliances if it is to end its complicity in Vietnam.
Government officials at all levels have consistently and cynically violated the civil rights of anti-war protestors. During an election rally in Vancouver last year, Prime Minister Trudeau encouraged his audience of partisan Liberals to physically attack anti-war hecklers. During a Toronto rally, he lectured opponents of the war with a polemical tactic now disgustingly familiar to Canadians everywhere. Democracy in Greece, Trudeau opined, “didn’t last very long. It was destroyed by people like this [the anti-war protestors] who didn’t want to talk—who didn’t believe you could reach conclusions by free discussions.”
Free discussion! Democratic rights! The fact is, civic officials have constantly harassed freedom of assembly and free speech and sup-pressed. as much as possible the truth about the war.
Anti-war protestors in Toronto en April 27 and October 26 of 1968 were both harassed by police. The Oct. 26 demonstration saw a mobilization of close to a thousand police in an attempt to prevent the marchers from going down the main street. The decision to deny the permit was made by a Police Commission, the majority of whose members are not even elected by the people of Toronto. Those who protest against the greatest moral issue of our day are molested by the police while the Grey Cup parade, the Santa Claus parade, the Salvation Army and many other groups are allowed to march unmolested.
Complicity extends into our educational institutions. Little attention is given to the Vietnam war in the high schools and when it is, most often. it is the pro-American view which is put forward. A request by Ontario high school students to the Board of Education to have teach-ins on the question of Vietnam was denied in 1967. Not even free discussion is allowed.
Complicity permeates our universities. Seventeen members of the Board of Governors of McGill University are also directors of companies involved in war production. Persons associated with Honeywell and Hawker-Siddeley, two complicit companies, sit on the U of T Board of Governors. Every year, dozens of war companies recruit on Canadian campuses with the cheerful compliance of the Board of Governors. Information is less clear on research, but it is known that the Defense Research Board, which is involved in the development of biochemical warfare, awarded $3 million in research grants to universities in the school year 1967-68. Our educational institutions are utilized by our ruling elite to justify the war intellectually and to provide facilities and technicians for the war industries.
Canada’s complicity has a warping effect on Canadian society, causing the erosion of our limited freedoms and perverting our educational institutions and communications media. Canada’s leaders, instead of leading the campaign against the war, are leading the campaign against the truth about the war, and against those who want to end the war, the anti-war movement.
Vietnam is the central point of conflict of the struggle between the oppressed people of the world and their oppressors. Vietnam is the key question in any country’s foreign policy in the world today—for in Vietnam a vital question is being determined—can a people free themselves from foreign enslavement and have the right to determine their own future? Everyone is looking to Vietnam. Will the heroic Vietnamese prevail?
On this touchstone of world politics, the Canadian government reveals its true colors. The record is one of willing and able complicity with the crimes of American imperialism, as documented in this pamphlet. This is no accident. Vietnam is the true representative of Canadian foreign policy; it is not an aberration.
Trudeau has said that “Canada should have no more business criticizing the U.S. than Poland has criticizing the U.S.S.R.” “Canada,” he adds, “is in the extremely fortunate position of not having to defend itself because we know darn well that the United States will...”. Like they are doing in Vietnam?
Trudeau lays the cards on the table. This government and its Tory allies are quite happy to be accomplices with the acts of American imperialism. But why? Because they are defending “us”. Not us, the ordinary Canadians, but us, the big corporations and the government elite. Canadian long-term investments abroad total about $7.3 billion, including $5.3 billion of private direct and portfolio investments, more per capita than the U.S. has. A lot of this is invested in the West Indies and South America where there are many movements struggling for self-determination.
Just three days after Sharp talked about joining the OAS, it was reported that Falconbridge Nickel was opening a new refinery in the Dominican Republic. It is no accident that the latest peace-keeping exercises are occurring in Jamaica.
We, the Canadian people, the “us” that counts, do not benefit from Canada’s complicity in Vietnam or any other interventions by the Canadian government. We have traditions of opposition to imperialist war. In the Boer war and both world wars, there was considerable opposition to conscription and Canadian intervention. There were demonstrations against conscription during which several persons were killed in Quebec in 1917. French-Canadians voted by a majority of 80% against conscription in 1942. Only 16,000 conscripted troops were ever sent overseas during the Second World War and none of these saw action.
After the Second World War, the Canadian government attempted to maintain an army of 30,000 overseas, but the troops would have none of it. In Britain they staged a strike and in Germany there was a sit-down. Early in 1946, back home they came.
We must rekindle this spirit among the Canadian people in opposition to Canada’s complicity in Vietnam, and spark it with the sense of urgency that the increased training of troops in counter-insurgency requires. The Canadian people have no interest in allowing the resources of this country to be used to serve the ends of U.S. imperialism. We don’t want to be trouble-shooters for the Pentagon where the direct intervention by the Marines would be too compromising for Washington. The working people of this country have every interest in ending the war in Vietnam, a war which every day endangers world peace, deprives the Vietnamese people of their rights, and threatens our economic well-being.
The Canadian government must break with the U.S. warmaking policy now—before they drag us into future imperialist wars. End all arms shipments to the United States! Withdraw medical teams, send aid to the legitimate representatives of the Vietnamese people! Get out of the ICC! Stop training troops in counter-guerrilla warfare! Withdraw all Canadian troops from overseas and guarantee that Canadian troops will never be sent outside of Canada! Demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all American troops from Vietnam!
Copyright South Branch Publishing. All